Amongst the many trends revolutionizing film and video technology as we speak, virtual productions are probably getting the least amount of fanfare — but also might ultimately be the most game changing. Because, while AI might optimize our production workflows better than ever before, virtual production technology might remove the need to ever leave the studio.
What a (great or scary) time to be alive, right?
One new product which is vastly making the world of virtual production much easier, simpler and more portable has to be this new VIVE Mars CamTrack which promises to revolutionize Hollywood productions with virtual reality setups which look awesome, but without breaking the bank in terms of cost or setup.
Here’s everything you need to know about this enticing new technology.
Before we dive into the VIVE Mars CamTrack in particular, let’s talk a bit about virtual production and what it actually promises as a new technology.
In theory, this has been a long time coming. From the very first days of front and rear projection techniques and green screen technology, the concept of shooting outside or in exotic mythical locations from the comfy confines of a studio lot is nothing new.
However, as digital projection technology has advanced at a rapid rate, full-scale projection walls have become the way of the future. As we’ve covered here at No Film School for some time, virtual production is indeed here and for real.
Here are some of the key tenets of virtual production which you can learn more about below:
In general though, while virtual production could always be considered a cost-saving measure if it’s replacing expensive on-location shooting, the barrier for entry for much of this technology has still been pretty high. But things in that arena are also starting to change.
Let’s now take a look at the new VIVE Mars CamTrack, which the company describes as “a professional-class camera tracking solution that makes virtual production extremely portable and easy.” Unlike the more expensive and expansive wall-to-wall setups which you might find on the biggest Hollywood studio sets, this system retails for just around $5,000 and has a higher quality tracking experience than many green screen or LED volume wall setups.
Designed with SteamVR Tracking 2.0 technology and VIVE Trackers, the HTC VIVE can deliver accurate camera tracking solutions optimized for your virtual production setups. It also doesn’t require much setup time at all, averaging around 15-20 minutes to get started.
You can use up to three “Rovers” to track cameras, lights, or props all with built-in features for genlock, timecode sync, and other connection options.
Ultimately, you can find out more from the VIVE Mars site.
At the end of the day though, virtual production setups aren’t going to be for everyone. Even at this reduced price point (which is certainly trending down as this technology becomes more and more affordable), it might not be the best investment unless you’re planning to utilize the VIVE Mars CamTrack for at least a handful of projects.
Still, as you can see in the video feature from Andyax, it’s certainly worth checking out and experimenting with if you’re at all interested in exploring virtual production and all of the possibilities that go along with it.
Ultimately the decision will be up to you and your current (and projected future) needs might be.
Let us know your thoughts on the VIVE Mars CamTrack though in the comments below. Do you see yourself trying it out soon, or will you wait for virtual production to become more viable and affordable in the future?